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present restriction : for it did not chases of bullion at a very great appear that the imposing or conti- disadvantage. Every one knew nuance of it had produced any ef- the losses which would be sustained fects on the exchange one way or by purchasing bullion at that juncother. Another important benefit he ture. And what would be the had forgotten to enumerate, which consequence? Though a large was, that the restraint had ascer- supply of bullion would undoubttained that this country could bear edly be brought into the bank, it a circulating paper of fifty millions*: would certainly find its way to the for bank notes and exchequer bills continent, while the rate of ex, to that amount, it appeared, had change continued as it was. He been afloat last year. Indeed, the would therefore see the course of: distinction between one and the exchange steady and permanent, other was merely that the one car- before he would deprive the counried interest, and the other saved try of the benefit of the restriction, interest, and was therefore prefer- on the bank. By removing it beable to coin. He concluded by fore that period arrived, he was fully giving his support to the original sensible he should only be under the motion.
necessity of recurring to it again ; The chancellor of the exchequer but by waiting for it, he thought remarked, that his honourable friend he was not flattering himself or, (Mr. Banks) said he was ready to the country, when he stated, that continue the restriction till the first there would be every reasonable of May, upon condition that, in the prospect of such a measure being in mean time, an inquiry by a com- future entirely unnecessary. These mittee should take place. His (Mr. were the grounds on which he rest, Addington's) wish was, that parlia. ed his opinion, that there was no ment should not put it out of their occasion for an inquiry, provided power to repeal the bill ; but fore- the sufficiency of the bank were ad seeing, as he did, the little probabi- mitted. His hon. friend seemed to lity of its being able with safety to think it material to ascertain whe, do so in the course of the present ther the bank directors had done session, he looked forward to that their duty. On this subject he power which might be exercised by thought an inquiry particularly the next. If therefore he were to unnecessary:
The concurrent oplo adopt the terms of his hon. friend's nion of all those who had ever ad. motion, he should raise delusive verted to the conduct of the bank expectations in the minds of the directors, was a proof that they country bankers, that parliament possessed the confidence and appro. would by that time be able to re- bation of the public in general; but peal the act altogether. This if there could
be a doubt, the paper would oblige them to make prepa- on the table was an ample proof rations, which in the present state of that the directors, since the restricthings would be unwise. It would tion was imposed, had made no inhave the effect of locking up part proper use of the issue of paper of their capital, and it would oblige money, or turned the power with the bank to make immediate pure which they were invested to account
• Probably alluding to the 17 millions of bank notes stated in the paper last laid upon the table; and to the chancellor of the exchequer's declaration, that 39 mil. lions of navy were issued in 1802; but three of these were locked up in the banks. 1803.
in an unbecoming manner. It was lation on our trade and commerce. the power of issuing accredited pa- We might attribute the increase of per money that constituted one of our wealth to our paper circulation, the sources of the wealth and and show that it was among the pristrength of the country. The confi- mary causes of those resources. Did dence with which it was received, the honourable gentleman imagine, was one of the circumstances by that, by opening the bank, the inconwhich the trade and commerce of venience of wanting gold would be the empire had been made to flourish obviated ? No; the rate of exchange under every difficulty ; it was one must be uniform. Without this, which had afforded, and whenever whatever might be the influx of bul. it should again become necessary lion, it must return to the continent. would afford, the surest ground of His honourable friend said, he did national hope and consolation. Who not wish to see too close an intimacy was there that did not recollect, between government and the bank. that in the year 1793, when money To this sentiment, in the abstract, suddenly disappeared, without any he acceded; but he denied that any one knowing to what cause to attri- intimacy did exist which was not as bute its disappearance, it was not advantageous to the affairs of the by importing bullion, at a conside- bank as those of the government. rable and certain loss, a remedy for He did not wish the bank should the evil was provided; but it was give unlimited credit to govern. by introducing a new circulating ment. In answer to this, he had medium the mischief which threat only to remark, that the amount of ened the commercial world was pre- the advances by the bank to governvented ? What had been, and was; ment, were less than they were im. then the case of the bank ? It ap. mediately before the restriction took peared, when the exchange was place; and sure he was, it would against us, the issue of paper money not be said, that any outstanding increased, and then when the former demands due from government was getting nearly at par, the latter constituted the slightest impediment was diminished, with the exception to the bank resuming its payments of one-pound notes, which had been in specie. Mr. Addington said, he issued as a substitution for guineas. should adhere to the original propoIf we compared the quantity of pa- sition he had made, for continuing per in circulation then with what it the restriction till six weeks after was in 1793, the increase would be the commencementof next session of found trivial, considering the great parliament, with the reserve for reexport of money for the purchase of pealing or altering it, if necessary, corn. The circulation was at pre- during the present one.-The quesent sixteen millions, including four stion being put, the original motion millions for small notes, which was was agreed to. The clause proposed à sum less by one million than it by the attorney-general was also was at the period immediately pre- agreed to by the house. ceding the restriction. His learned The bill was passed on the 14th friend said, every one must lament of February. the want of gold for the purposes of A great deal of debate took trade and commerce. He was con- place also on the same subject in vinced, by his observation, that he the lords; but we have already ascould not have considered the con. signed as much room to this article sequence and effect of paper circu- as our limits will allow. In the
house of peers, however, the sub- cial calculation and detail, deliject of restriction on the Irish bank vered his sentiments on the meawas introduced by lord King, on sure before the house. What he the 25th of February. He moved had to say should be confined to for several accounts relative to the the effect which the restriction had quantity of notes of the bank of on the commerce of Ireland; the Ireland in circulation at given pe- disadvantages that country labourriods, and spoke of the immense ed under, by the course of exdiscount at which Irish notes were, change being so much against her, at one time during the war, be- and by the depreciation which the tween Dublinand Hamburgh (from notes of the bank had suffered. 154 to 174), which, he said, partly Perhaps he might be told, by way arose from there being no direct of defence for the bank, that these communication between Dublin effects had been produced by counand Hamburgh, but that it was try banks. He hoped to be able necessarily managed through the to show they were produced by the medium of London, which of bank directors themselves. He course aggravated the expense, would not hesitate to say, that the
The marquis of Sligo said, the directors of the bank of Ireland noble lord appeared to him to be had been guilty of a gross abuse of utterly mistaken respecting the the discretionary power yested in notes of the bank of Ireland. The them, by the immense quantity of notes of the national bank of Ire- notes which they issued. It appeared land had not been at a discount, by the papers laid on the table, that but the notes of the private banks; in the year 1797, there were no which made their payments, when more than 621,0001. of notes in their own notes were presented, in circulation. Then, there were in notes of the national bank ; and if circulation no less than 2,636,0001. they failed in so doing, they were could any thing, he would ask, be liable to have a commission of a more palpable abuse of power bankruptcy issued against them.- than thus inundating the country Lord King made three motions, with paper-money? And was there the substance of which (when cor, any difficulty in accounting for the rected by an observation of lord depreciation which that paper had Pelham) was as follows:- That experienced? The increased issue the proper officers do lay before of the bank of England, since the the house an account of the amount stoppage of payments in cash, was of the notes of the bank of Ire- not more than one third of its land, in circulation on the 1st of former issue ; but in Ireland it January, April, and September, was four times as much. What 1797 ; on the ]st of April, May, motive could there have been for and June, 1801 ; and the 1st of this conduct, which was pursued June, August, October, and De- in Ireland ? Nothing else but to çember, 1802 ; and the 1st of Janu- increase the profits of the directors ary 1803, respectively.” Ordered. and proprietors of bank stock; he
The second reading of the bill, had almost said, to increase their on this occasion, did not take place divisions of the plunder they comtill the 3d of May, when
mitted on the public. However Lord King rose, and in a speech advantageous it might have been of some length, fraught with finan- to individuals, to the public at
large it was a great injury. The ing, and at the head of it were depreciation of paper was a natu- some men of considerable rank ral and necessary consequence of and talents. Their plan was to the immense quantity of it in cir- distress the government, and em. culation, and the same cause had barrass it by forcing a run upon produced the great difference in the bank of Ireland, through the the course of the exchange, which, medium of a run upon the private if their lordships required him to banks of Ireland, which must neprove, he was ready to do. He cessarily produce the first object did not mean to oppose this bill as an inevitable consequence. In altogether; but when it came into the executive committee of the the committee, he should move to conspirators, they had entered into introduce a clause by which the a resolution that all the members bank of Ireland should be obliged, of the united Irishimen should reafter six months, to give bank of fuse to take bank-notes in payment, England notes in return for their and that they should all make a run own notes, whenever they should be upon the bank, by presenting all presented.
the notes they had in their possesThe earl of Limerick answered sion for payment. The order was the arguments of the noble lord issued by the executive committee who had just sat down. He had to all the subordinate branches of heard from the noble lord an im- that union; and was obeyed by all putation thrown out against the the members with a degree of directors of the bank of Ireland, punctuality of which the history of having been in fault, and even of the world furnishes no example, that they had abused the trust vest- unless we refer to the marvellous ed in their discretion. He could accounts that are related of a set not only assert, but prove beyond of assassins which once existed in all question, that the conduct of Syria. The directors of the bank the directors of the bank of Ire- of Ireland became apprised of land had been uniformly wise, pru- this, and they felt it their duty to dent, and exemplary; and most be provided against the meditated of the charges brought against mischief. They therefore limited them by the noble lord, when pro- their discount, and issued an adeperly explained and rightly under- quate number of notes to meet the stood, would be found to be so exigency, which no '
man who many proofs of their active, cau knew the cause would consider in tious, and judicious conduct. The any other light than as a measure noble lord had commenced his ac- founded in provident caution, sound count of the issue of notes of the judgement, and true policy. Soon bank of Ireland, and put into circu- after a law was passed to prevent lation, as well as the rate of exchange, payments in cash; but this was from the year 1797, which the no- very evident, that the depreciation ble lord had stated to be the first of notes was occasioned by the year of which he could produce a conspirators, and the insecure state correct account. He happened, of the country might have added lord Limerick said, to have in his to that cause. The quantity of hand an account a year earlier, viz. notes then in circulation in Ireland the year 1796. In that year a was not greater than was absolutely most unnatural rebellion was form- necessary for the country. The
great number of private banks was number of small notes, and, by one cause of this increased circu. means of the army agents, forlation; for all the country banking warded them to be circulated houses were obliged to keep a among the army. The adminiquantity of national bank-notes by stration of that period, with an them, in order to answer the de- attention to the interests of the mands that might be made upon country, eminently praise-worthy, them. All these notes might be had turned its thoughts to that considered as being out of cir- subject. It was feared that these culation, and they must have banks might be partly conducted increased the quantity of those by adventurers who might impose issued by the bank. Another ma
upon the people. In case of their terial cause of the increase of failure, the loss would fall heavily bank-notes in Ireland was, the in- upon the poorer classes, among crease of its revenue and its whom the notes, on account of debt. Another was, the vast number their smallness, chiefly circulated. of persons from Ireland, spending A bill was therefore brought into the
greater part of their fortunes parliament, which, after a severe in this country. This grievance struggle, passed into a law, by unfortunately existed in a still which these bankers were prohigreater degree since the union, bited from circulating notes below and it might be considered in the value of 51. Their former some degree as the price paid by notes were ordered to be returned, Ireland for that great blessing: and they were obliged to pay the Let the political situation of af- notes of their new circulation with fairs at the time, in respect to notes of the bank of Ireland. A Ireland, also be taken into the very considerable number of adaccount. A French fleet of force ditional notes of the Irish bank was riding at anchor for a consi- were necessary to fill derable time in one of the bays immense chasm that was thus in the western extremity of Ire- made. land ; and as the people of that With regard to the different island always looked up to Eng- rates of exchange, his lordship land and its fleets and armies assigned many and strong reasons for protection, they were, on that to account for the variations and occasion, disappointed ; the Bri- increase. He said, when he came tish feets being by adverse winds to look to the account of the comand storms locked up in their own parative amount of the debt of harbours. This incident unavoid. Ireland, he himself could scarcely ably produced consequences which credit what he saw. In 1797, the pressed on the bank of Ireland; debt amounted to seven millions but they bore up against it, and only; and in January 1803, the firmly sustained the shock it occa amount was forty millions. This sioned.
increase however was easily to be The country banks of Ireland, accounted for, when the causes of to which the noble lord rightly an it were examined; and those causes ticipated his intention to ascribe had contributed also to the increase the evils which he had deprecated, of the rate of exchange. First, though this was by no means the the rebellion, during its continuprincipal cause, liad issued a vast ance, had put a check upon their